Op-eds and Interviews

Cultivating culture and spirits: The untold story of a mezcal-making Mexican farmer

I met Mr. Jesus on my way from Puerto Vallarta to the quaint town of San Sebastian in Jalisco, Mexico. “Hacienda Don Lalin”—Mr. Jesus’s Raicilla distillery—stood with an unmanicured charm, amidst the red volcanic soils of the Sierra Madre mountains. Jesus’s ruddy face, a lot like the amber Reposado he poured into our tiny tasting cups, had a rustic passion to it. This was a man who was physically connected to his craft of Mezcal making—from preparing the earth, cultivating the Agave, observing t

From identity to art: Q&A with two Puget Sound drag artists

Sex and gender are two distinct concepts. The first indicates a person’s biological characteristics while the latter is either a socially-constructed list of how a person of a certain sex should behave, communicate, etc., or what a person identifies with. Drag — the art form — has evolved to celebrate a multiplicity of sex and gender expressions. As an homage to Pride month, here's an interview with Washington based drag artists Mister Cade and Anita.

Into the mind of a Yogi: Conversation with an Indian monk

The first monk to visit the shores of America, with the knowledge of yoga and Vedanta, was described by the New York Critic in 1893 as an “an interesting figure, [whose] fine, intelligent … face in its setting of yellows, and … deep, musical voice prepossess[ed] one at once in his favor.”

This large-eyed, young monk in saffron robes was Swami Vivekananda.

Monks tend to appear as solitary figures who thrive in silence, breathe slower, and view the rest of us with a blasé demeanor.

Early this y

Learning surveillance and the metaverse: Do you mind being watched? | Guest column

Unlike traditional classrooms, which mostly focus on engaging the learner’s mind, the metaverse has been trying to implement immersive learning experiences by engaging the mind through the body of the learner. This mind-body balance is a marked improvement in how we approach learning and training. But as laudable as this move away from a mentalistic learning model it is, one wonders if this obsession with the learner’s body/embodied learning could necessitate the institutionalization of compulsory tracking mechanisms to assess learning.

Changing Tides: Learning and Training in the Metaverse

With an array of customizable architectural features, several universities, including Stanford, have started taking their classes to the metaverse. I interviewed Dr. Alex Howland, the Co-founder & President of the VR platform, Virbela, to understand how the metaverse is re-imagining traditional learning & training spaces, and redefining the position of the learner/teacher in these spaces. #metaverse #virbela #learning #corporateTraining #education #stanford #gamification
Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels

Metaverse: Old wine in a new bottle? | Guest column

The metaverse is a partially-understood space. Some call it a trend destined to fade away, others call it a hoax, and some, like me, marvel at the possibilities it carries. There is a poetic ("verse") and transcendental ("meta") quality to the term "metaverse"-- a promise of escape that the human nature craves. A "second life" (name of first metaverse) that many wish they could explore and live.

But the question is, will this hyperreal world create unimaginative replicas of the real world OR can it brazenly and creatively surpass the constraints of human nature and socio-political institutions?

Blog Posts and Magazine Articles

Child Soldiers in the Middle East

The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a ‘child’ as a person below the age of eighteen years. Children across the world have been used as soldiers in state and non-state military warfare, including World Wars I and II.

The 1970s saw a rise of humanitarian groups that raised the awareness of protecting children from the onslaughts of war, and it was during this time that the word “child soldier” appeared as an unacceptable condition. Though the 2002 Rome Statute for the International

Essays and Book Reviews

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